Friday, April 29, 2011

Coral is Open

My normal weekly post will be here on Sunday- but ahead of that the following quick note on the folks from Coral Industries. As you may or may not know, the massive outbreak of tornado's that hit the south did touch our industry. One of the buildings that Coral works out of was destroyed in the storm.

Thankfully, everyone at Coral heeded the warnings and their were no injuries and everyone is safe.

I got an e mail this morning from Lewis McCallister of Coral and he let me know that Coral is open for business- they have power and to their customers to please get with your salespeople on your deliveries etc. I have no doubts that the McCallister family and the management and employees at Coral will be doing all they can to get back to "normal" and quite frankly throwing themselves into their work will help keep the mind off of all the news surrounding them.

Again I will talk about this in more detail in my normally scheduled post, but for the time being, that is the update and as an industry, all thoughts and prayers should go to all of the folks in Alabama, Tennessee, and Arkansas affected by these incredibly vicious storms.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Buyer Beware

We all get the e mails that appear in our inboxes in the middle of the night offering us great products direct from China (or other foreign nations) at lower prices than ever thought before. Most of us ignore these come-ons but recently one group of e mails crossed the line. The tag line says “Supply Pilkington Low E Glass” and the body of the e mail gives the impression that you can get Pilkington Low E (making you jump to the assumption it is the legendary Energy Advantage Low E they are hawking) direct from China and this company instead of from the actual manufacturer in the U.S. Basically this is the classic misrepresentation that has been festering for years but continues to get bolder as people get more desperate to move products. Bottom line here is buyer beware. Good companies don’t just allow fly by nighters take their products and promote them, especially against their own operations. And quite frankly if it sounds too good to be true (and is rife with typos and mis-spellings) it absolutely is. There are legitimate companies in China in our industry and believe me those companies don’t have to resort to spam-like emails with misrepresentations to get business.


-- As noted briefly last week, Guardian has filled the position that is being vacated by the retirement of Russ Ebeid. Scott Thomsen will be the guy and I think he’ll bring an energy and passion to that job that will really be fun to watch. It continues to be a very different world and I have no doubt a year from now our industry will really look a ton different that is for sure.

-- The ABI held serve again this month and encouraging news is really the solidification of the performance of the West. Could the end of the frustrations out there be near?

-- On the flip side, those who have followed me know I am an alarmist when it comes to gasoline prices- and once again I am playing the role of Chicken Little… but this time, I really believe the sky is falling. Gas is already flown past $4 per gallon and it’s not even Memorial Day or the summer driving season. One analyst is predicting $6 a gallon gas. That would be very ugly.

-- (a site you should bookmark and check at least daily) had a great link to a story from Toronto last week talking about how glass as a building product is shifting. It’s a frustrating story with some inaccurate statements but it does send a message that we have to continue to educate the masses about our products. Because if we don’t, we will be replaced by other materials.

-- So the “tree in the forest” that I mentioned last week finally “formally” fell and a press release was issued that the UGC was sold to an affiliate of Sun Capital. Someone posted a comment on my blog saying it was getting the legal stuff taken care of, but that holds no water when so many maneuvers were underway already. Now let’s hope the new owners quickly make good on the payments owed to contracted employees that were not paid while the company was struggling. Outside of that, I think I’ll hold my tongue- for now- shocking I know- but still waaaay too much emotion there for me.

-- FUN FACT: The guy who won the Boston Marathon last week did it in 2 Hours and 3 minutes. He was MOVING! So much so, to run that fast, that long is comparable to turning your treadmill to 12.1 and running on that for 2 hours. 12.1! Try it- it shows you the pure speed involved. Simply crazy fast.

-- I buried myself yet again with the wonderful editor (Jenni Chase) of this fine publication. When I abused Denver and Washington in posts last week, I received an e mail letting me know that those were HER favorite teams. I had no idea going in obviously. Oh well… so if you see my next story is on the “life of useless cullet” you know she is exacting her revenge.

LINKS of the WEEK:

-- This one is just a great quick read because you will laugh at the comical nature of it. A flight crew notices a “suspicious” material in a bathroom of their plane… uh oh, wonder what it is?

-- School district looking to find sponsors for everything- including textbooks… yep just a matter of time before my kids bring home an English book brought to you by Acme Plumbing.

-- Just so much wrong and going on with the story. School secretary that has a X rated past and the 14 year old! That blew the whistle. And then it takes a life of its own. Unreal.

VIDEO of the WEEK:

From my sister Marcie the queen of all retail… very cool prank video that I am guessing many retail clothing stores would LOVE to play to get back at customers…. But of course this takes big planning and execution. Good stuff…

Monday, April 18, 2011

And yet another shift

Usually the spring in our industry is quiet news wise, but 2011 has not followed that path and last week we had yet another special alert pop up. The announced retirement of Guardian Industries President Russ Ebeid hit the wires and signaled yet another shift within our industry. Once upon a time people would complain to me that our industry was stuck in neutral, the same places in all the same places. Well this sure isn’t the case anymore! As for Russ, there’s a ton to say, but according to the report he isn’t due to retire until the fall, so I’ll hold off on my tributary comments until the time is right. Needless to say he will be missed.


-- Best e mail of the week came from a industry buddy of mine who commented on the high profile retirement announcements of Ebeid and Russ Huffer. He sarcastically said “Wow, 2 great job openings now for me to choose from.. gonna be a tough call on which one I will take…” I love it. (and now just one of the two jobs are open anyway!)

-- From the “If a tree falls in a forest but no one is there to hear it” files… if a company (or group of companies in this case) gets sold (or infused with money and new leadership) but no one wants to admit it to the press (but they’ve told all of the employees and are telling customers) did it really happen? What I don’t get is why you don’t announce it? Unless something else is at play… I’ll give it another week, still makes no sense.

-- Those of you who have been reading this blog since 2005 know that one of my pet peeves is the whole price-fixing lawsuit situation, and this past week, Jeld-Wen filed suit against several glass manufacturers. The whole thing is sad, in my opinion, because at the end of the day the cost of defending yourself through our legal system is far more than just settling. So even if you are innocent (and I believe the folks in the U.S. are innocent), you end up paying. The most recent suit against the manufacturers was recently settled, but Jeld-Wen decided to "opt out" and go it alone. And why not? They are a big company with deep pockets. They can now see if the manufacturers will again decide if it's worth fighting. When is enough... enough? I don't know, maybe I'm just mad because I suffer through predatory practices daily and deal with it.

-- OK time to finish on a lighter note…. The playoffs have begun in the NBA and NHL. In the NHL, my picks for the Cup are the Red Wings and Capitals or as my son says “the worst match up ever” because he is not a fan of either team. I was going to pick the Canucks, or Montreal but knowing I have good friends that are big fans of those teams, no way could I put the hex on them. I think the Caps win it all. In the NBA, it should be a wild playoff season with a ton of teams that could win it. I’m actually going with a long shot in the West… Denver. (Yep I picked em last year too) to face Chicago in the Finals, with Bulls winning it all. Though I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Heat win. I avoided picking the Spurs out of respect for the incredible Luna family, owners of Champion Glass in San Antonio. If I jinxed the Spurs, I’d never get to see a game with those guys again! In any case should be a fun 2 months of playoffs in both leagues and a great nightly diversion to the daily adventures of our world!


-- For my fellow fliers, a very cool link on the “Meanest” Airlines….

-- The “Sham Wow” guy getting sued in a “Love Slave” scandal

-- Kinda wild, wife has her deceased husband made into necklaces. Yeah. Um note to Beth, don’t do that to me please… I think you’ll remember me just fine…


Evidently this video is a few years old, but I have never seen it… and I love the way the guy is shopping and shuffling. Very cool!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Never in my wildest....

You know the term “Never in my wildest dreams?” Well I can tell you I have always wanted to use it in the right context. You know like “Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d get locked in the M&M factory” or “Never in my wildest dreams did I think Denzel Washington would want ME in his next movie!” but amazingly that appropriate phrase now has usage in my life with “Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be doing ‘all this’ again one year later.”

“All this” in case you have been living under a rock or working for the DOE (same thing) is the news that my current company is being sold after being forced into bankruptcy. No way could I have imagined this happening again and surely not so soon either. In any case it has been a mind bending experience, the same as the past event but yet different in many ways. While the process and some of the names and figures are the same, the overall action and path were markedly opposite. Still that said, it is, what it is, and I am living in the glass industries cruel version of Groundhog Day.

So here we are again, with so many of the same emotions percolating about, but still the most important angle is “hope.” I am truly hopeful and actually confident that this will work out for the company, our suppliers, customers, and most importantly all of the folks employed here. Have to stay positive and put our faith in the leadership in the U.S. that was incredibly deft enough to create viable contingency plans in case the legal matters we got sucked into went south.

So never in my wildest dreams would I ever see myself writing a post like this again, and so help me, I don’t plan on doing it a 3rd time that’s for sure. I’m rolling forward and I hope that we can get a chance to finish what we started and continue to work hard for this industry.


-- It’s kind of hard to hit other subjects when you have such a heavy angle hanging out there, but it is “business as usual” and I’ll keep going at it.

-- Saddened by the passing of John McGrory this past week. He and his family built a great company and my condolences to the family on this very sad loss for them and our industry.

-- An awesome post HERE by incredible Glass Pundit herself, Kris Vockler. Worth a read for sure as some incredible food for thought on display.

-- Am the only one who reads the story about Quanex and their changes at the Engineered Products Group and wonder what happens to some of the other key people from Edgetech?

-- I mentioned the DOE earlier and last week they announced 113 million in funding for Solar growth in the US. I really have concerns on that as I have not trusted their track record on who they have given money too and how they have given it in the past. 113 million could help many good growth companies- in a few different energy related industry segments; let’s hope this doesn’t get squandered. Plus the other thought is with the debt so high, this money better be well spent otherwise the hole goes deeper.

-- There was a comment on my blog from the esteemed Henry Taylor of Kawneer. He is also currently the head of the GANA BEC and one thing I failed to mention in all of my pieces is that Henry didn’t exactly pick the perfect time to take the reins of that group. The economy fell apart and spending on things like BEC was shrunk. Henry has done a tremendous job in driving the bus and he is supremely talented and important to the future of our world. And there’s no doubt he realizes what the holes are and what needs to be filled. I should’ve been clearer and absolutely no disrespect intended.

-- Last this week… I picked the Red Sox to win the American League and I think they’ve won once since… my gosh I have the touch don’t I? I guess that’s why one of my co-workers now calls me “The Flying Dutchman”


-- If you haven’t been following this story on the fired news anchor in Philly, you should. It’s better than the average soap opera.

-- A fun one (we all could use a fun one right?) about the physics of clown cars… how do they stuff all those guys in that small car?

-- Any blog post that gets more than 4000 comments must be interesting and this one is… looks at the accuracy of statements by BP and Donald Trump among others. Interesting overall and so are the comments below the post.


Funny TV Bloopers sent in by my pal Bob. Some good stuff in here… and again, always nice to laugh that’s for sure!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

The News

Well that sure was a doozy of an April Fool’s Day eh? Now before I begin, I have to remind everyone that this is my blog- so it’s my opinion (not my company and not Glass Magazine’s) so it’s all on me. Obviously the news that hit on April 1 was surprising, frustrating and upsetting. In my estimation it surely didn’t paint an accurate picture of the company I work for (or the people I work with) and caused serious and unnecessary consternation for the fine folks here. Now all that said I have to step back and say that I trust in the people I work for here in the US and I will await the various outcomes before I comment further. Needless to say these are very interesting times in our world and not just for me and my co workers either…


-- Looking back at BEC I think of Andy Gum, the most prolific chair in the history of the BEC. Andy was leery of passing the baton to me because he was afraid that the group would lose its focus on the glazier. Now while the attendance of the glazier was weaker than the past and hoped for, the focus of the sessions really was still squarely on the needs of the glazing contractor. Hopefully like noted last week in this space, the mix in the crowd was more aberration than trend.

-- Some good news to report in our world… two new industry babies were born recently. Cameron Scripture of Viracon (seriously one of the nicest guys in the world) welcomed a new baby as well as Angus MacMillan of Dorma. Boys, don’t let your babies grow up to be glass sales people… CONGRATS and best to you and the better half of you who did all the work!

-- This week USA Today had a blurb from the CEO of Wal Mart predicting seriously higher inflation rates. And he sees it happening rapidly. That is surely worrisome.

-- The Department of Commerce just put another huge tariff on Chinese aluminum coming into the US. Which makes me wonder- how does Chinese glass avoid the same treatment? Seriously what am I missing there?

-- And starting to get concerned that as we fight in Libya the issues happening in the Ivory Coast are concerning as well. Man do you ever think that the whole 2012 end of the world thing may actually be right?

-- Ok to finish, we’ll keep it lighter and baseball has started and here’s my predictions on who will win it all… In the National League, I think the Phillies are just too good on the mound to beat in a short series. If the Reds can get the pitching they are the only team that can compete for the pennant there (in my mushy mind) and in the AL.. I like the Sox.. both Red and White to make the runs, but in the end the Yankees have too much to be stopped. In the WS- Phils over Yanks.


I have tons and tons. So limiting to a handful is a challenge. So no video and just extra linkage.

-- As the father of a daughter, I actually can appreciate this guys sentiment- but offering cash for the body of her boyfriend “Dead or Alive” is just not good style.

-- A look back with an update on the greatest sports April Fool’s Day joke ever.

-- Comical- Michigan bans a Beer based on its name. Hey its crude and stupid, but I thought we lived in a country that allows free speech?

-- Wait we do have free speech- but sometimes its not great to have…

-- Love these stories… “The Worlds Dumbest Pilots”

-- Mom taking up for the boyfriend instead of the kid. Despicable.